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Moorea, Society Islands
Friday, February 24, 2017   Related topics:
M/S Paul Gauguin is still anchored off the coast of Moorea, Society Islands, this morning. The view from our stateroom balcony is spectacular!

We spend the morning pre-packing for the trip home. This is our last full day aboard M/S Paul Gauguin, a depressing thought for sure. Nevertheless, all good things, and cruises, must come to an end. But, only seven days? It seems like we just got here!

We have booked the Slow-Paced Belvedere E-Bike tour ($85/pp) through the cruise line's shore excursion department. The tour is scheduled for 1pm, so we have time to enjoy lunch in La Veranda before our excursion.

After lunch, we gather our backpacks and head down to the Grand Salon to meet other guests on tour this afternoon. Once again, a short tender ride to shore is necessary, but today it is raining when we board the tender! When we arrive at the tender pier, the rain is still falling lightly. A young lady is waiting for us with an E-BIKE sign.

There is only one other couple on our tour today, plus our E-Bike tour guide, Ari. We walk from the pier about 100 yards to an area with several of the E-Bikes lined up.  Each of us is offered a helmet and a bike is sized for us. There is a brief instruction on how the E-Bike functions. Basically, it is like any other 10-speed mountain bike, except that it has an electric-assist motor. This is not to be confused with a Mo-Ped. The electric motor will not power the E-Bike by itself. You still have to pedal the bike. But, you can dial in varying degrees of "assistance" to make peddling easier.

We are shown how to adjust the level of electric motor assistance

It only takes a few minutes to get used to how the E-Bike works, and the electric motor really does make a huge difference in the amount of energy needed to propel the bike forward. Before long, we are all heading off down the main island road using the designated bike lane, following our guide Ari.

Ari, our tour guide

After about a mile, we turned off the main road on to a narrower, paved road. The roads were all in good condition. However, one has to be careful not to run off the road into a deep rain gutter in some places. Paying attention to where you are riding is very important. Soon, we are riding along tree lined, curvy roads with some really beautiful scenery.

In actuality, we are slowly climbing a mountain with moderate grades. There is no way Rickee nor I could have ridden this road on a normal bike. The E-BIke really makes going up hills much easier. I should also point out that once the rain subsided, it is VERY hot and VERY humid, making this a bit more challenging. The only breeze comes when you are riding the bike. When we make a stop for Ari to show us something, or just for a break, it is very hot.

Along the way to Belvedere (a popular lookout spot), we stop at a fruit jam stand where we get to taste a variety of locally produced fruit jams. When we finally arrived at Belvedere, I think we were all pretty spent from the ride up the winding roads. We took a moment to take in the view and get some keepsake photos.

I was able to rig up my GoPro on the handlebars of my bike, so hopefully, I will have a short video of some of the action to post later!

After the visit to Belvedere, it was time to turn off the E-Bike's electric motor and basically coast back down the mountain. This was the most fun. Just ride the brake all the way down! On the way down, we did make a couple of other stops, one to view the spot where Captain Cook first landed on Moorea.

Monument to Captain Cook

By 4:00pm, we were pulling into the port area where our tour began. I think we were all pretty tired, but exhilarated and glad we had booked the tour. We surrendered our E-Bikes and walked back to the pier to catch the last tender back to the ship. I think Rickee and I agree that the E-Bike excursion is well worth the $85 per person, and one that you should consider, as long as you are in moderately good physical condition.

Back on board M/S Paul Gauguin, I take a quick shower so that I can get up to the Pool Deck for the Captain's Farewell Party, which is already in full swing by the time I arrive.

Guests gather for Captain's Farewell Party

The drinks are flowing, and Santa Rosa (the ship's band) is playing, and everyone looks to be having a great time. There are a few "surprises" thrown in during the festivities, but those shall remain secret. You will have to sail on M/S Paul Gauguin to experience for yourselves!

Santa Rosa entertains at Captain's Farewell

I left the celebration to visit the best place on the ship to observe the sunset, La Palette on Deck 8 aft. As we sail from Moorea, the sunset is as beautiful as any I have ever seen. Many guests gather on the aft deck for photos, or just to take in the beauty.

After sunset, Rickee and I meet at our favorite spot, the Piano Bar, for one last cocktail. After the second day, the bartender knew our favorite drinks, so all we have to do is sit down and the waiter delivers my Crown Royal and Rickee's sparkling wine. A plate of canapés accompanies our drinks.

After we enjoy our drink, we visit L'Etoile for dinner. I enjoyed a perfectly seasoned, and perfectly cooked rack of lamb while Rickee had a nice bowl of spaghetti bolognese. We both agreed that it was the best meal of the cruise!

Tomorrow morning, we will disembark M/S Paul Gauguin and say goodbye to our new friends we have met on board. It will be a long day with a day room at a local hotel followed by a midnight flight back to LAX. We have really enjoyed our short time aboard Paul Gauguin and look forward to our next adventure.

Don't forget to watch for a full, in-depth review of M/S Paul Gauguin coming soon to!

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